US won’t specify troop numbers in security accord
BRUSSELS (PAN): The United States would not specify the number of its troops staying in Afghanistan in a security deal, but the two sides would reach a broad understanding on the issue, an American diplomat said on Tuesday.
However, the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) would outline the presence, role and areas where the soldiers would be stationed, said Ivo H. Daalder, the US permanent representative on the Council of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.
At a meeting with Afghan editors in Brussels, the envoy said the agreement would detail the role of American soldiers in supporting and training the local security forces. He insisted the US did not want to see a recurrence of the situation witnessed after the Soviet pullout from the country in the late eighties.
The decade-long US and NATO mission has been central to stabilising Afghanistan, according to the permanent representative, who claimed a lot of gains had been made during the period. “We have invested a lot in Afghanistan; it will not be appropriate to walk out of the country or allow a reversal of the gains.”
With this in mind, the official argued, Washington stressed a long-term partnership with Kabul to keep Afghanistan from once again becoming a terrorist sanctuary that it was until 2001, when the Taliban regime was ousted as a result of a sustained bombing blitz by the Americans and their allies.
Daalder billed the ongoing process of transition as a success, saying that Afghan forces were currently providing security for areas where almost 90 percent of the population lived. The exercise will be completed this coming spring, when Afghan forces will be in the lead security role across the country.
Born in 1960, Daalder has been the US permanent representative on the NATO Council since May 2009. He is a specialist in European security. He was a member of the staff of United States National Security Council (NSC) during the Bill Clinton administration. Educated at Oxford and Georgetown universities, he received a doctorate in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1989.